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Here’s an awesome slow cooker recipe that is Whole30 compliant: Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs and Marinara. Nestle some browned meatballs in a homemade red sauce in your slow cooker and let it do its thing. Serve over baked spaghetti squash, or spiralized zucchini “noodles” AKA zoodles.

turkey-meatballs-and-homemade-marinara-crock-pot-slow-cooker-recipe

WHAT YOU NEED:

Marinara Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1.5 cups finely diced sweet onion
  • 1.5 cups finely diced carrots
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 (28oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1-2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste
  • 1.5 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1.5 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1.5 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves

Turkey Meatballs

  • 4 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

WHAT YOU DO:

To make the marinara sauce:

  • Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil, onion, carrots and garlic. Sauté veggies until carrots soften, approx. 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a 6-qt slow cooker.
  • Wipe out skillet and set aside to use for browning the meatballs.
  • Add remaining marinara sauce ingredients to slow cooker then whisk to combine.

To make the meatballs:

  • Put all of the ingredients for the turkey meatballs in a large mixing bowl. Using a fork (or hands if you’re into that, ha), combine the ingredients. Divide mixture to form approximately meatballs. (a 2-Tablespoon cookie scoop helps)
  • Reheat the skillet over med-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Working in batches, lightly brown all sides of the meatballs in the hot skillet (3-4 minutes per batch). Add more olive oil to the skillet as needed to complete the browning process. Place browned meatballs on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb any excess oil.
  • Place browned meatballs in marinara sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
  • To serve, place cooked meatballs in serving bowl. Discard bay leaves. For more fresh garlic flavor, season sauce with 2-3 more cloves of minced garlic.
  • Optional: Place marinara sauce on spiralized zucchini “noodles” or baked spaghetti squash. Top with meatballs and enjoy.
  • You can freeze or refrigerate leftovers for quick future meals.

MAKE-AHEAD OPTION if you want to partially prep this recipe, cook the veggies as instructed above, transfer them to a freezer-safe container, and freeze. Prepare the meatballs using the recipe above until browned. Place browned meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put into the freezer to “flash freeze.” Once they’re frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe container and freeze. When you’re ready to prepare this recipe, just add the frozen, prepped ingredients to the slow cooker.

recipe adapted from Whole30.com
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I tried a pasta and cream sauce recipe from The Pioneer Woman, and added a few goodies: red wine, red pepper flakes, and oregano. It was easy and delicious! Here’s how it turned out:

Pasta with Red Wine Cream Sauce - so delicious - ditch the jars of boring spaghetti sauce! This recipe is THE one to use.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. red wine
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sprinkle of dried oregano
  • dash of dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 2/3 c. heavy cream
  • freshly grated pecorino-romano cheese, to taste
  • 2-3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 1-1/2 lb. dry pasta

WHAT YOU DO:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain, reserving 1 c. of pasta water, and set both aside.

In the empty pan used to cook the pasta, heat butter and EVOO over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.

Pour in tomatoes, red wine, and add sugar and spices.

Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add cheese to taste, then check seasonings, adjusting if needed.

Stir in pasta, thin with some of the pasta water (if needed). Add chopped basil and serve.

Here’s a healthy, low-carb, pizza option: instead of crust, use roasted eggplant slices. This is similar to my earlier zucchini pizza recipe, except this has a homemade sauce. It takes a little longer to prepare but it’s worth it! You could also add your favorite vegetable or meat toppings to these.

Roasted Eggplant Pizza Recipe

I didn’t have Italian Seasoning, so I make my own little combo of herbs, as you will see. 

Eggplant Pizza Recipe

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 globe eggplant, around 8 ounces or so
  • 1 Tbs. salt, for drawing water out of eggplant
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, for brushing eggplant before roasting
  • For sprinkling on eggplant before roasting: 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (*or see note below for what I did)
  • 1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2-3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend*
    (*note: I didn’t have Italian seasoning so I made my own combination, to taste, with dried basil; dried oregano; dried parsley; garlic powder; onion powder; black pepper; and red pepper flakes.)
  • Optional toppings when serving: red pepper flakes, garlic powder, parmesan cheese

WHAT YOU DO:

Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut 3/4 inch thick slices. Put eggplant slices on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Let the salted eggplant sit for 30 minutes or so, to draw out the liquid.

While the eggplant is sitting preheat oven to 375°F.

Also while the eggplant sits, make the sauce. In a large saucepan or skillet, heat 2 tsp. EVOO, adding the garlic and sauteing just until it becomes fragrant (don’t let it brown). Add tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning (*or whatever combination of herbs you want), and let the sauce cook at a low simmer until it’s thickened, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork as it cooks. Add water as needed, a few spoonfuls at a time as the sauce cooks, keeping it hot until you need it for the eggplant slices.

After 30 minutes, wipe eggplant dry with paper towels, which will also remove most of the salt.

Mist a baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray (I used parchment paper), lay eggplant slices on, brush the tops of the eggplant with EVOO, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning (*or your own herb combo mentioned earlier).

Roast eggplant for 25 minutes or so, making sure not to overcook them, which would make them soggy.

While eggplant roasts, combine grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

After eggplant pieces are done, remove from oven and turn oven temperature to broil.

Spread a few spoonfuls of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice, and top with cheese. Place under broiler for 1-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve hot, with optional toppings.

recipe adapted from kalynskitchen.com

Roasted Eggplants Pizza Recipe - slice evenly then let sit with salt to remove excess moisture

Roasted Eggplant Pizza Recipe - make an awesome red sauce with tomatoes, garlic, EVOO, and herbs

Roasted Eggplant Pizza Recipe - roast slices then top with sauce and cheeses, then broil

Roasted Eggplant Pizza - top roasted eggplant slices with sauce and cheeses then broil

Roasted Eggplant Pizzas Recipe - sooooo delicious

Use a baking sheet for awesome eggplant pizzas

Lemon Ginger Shrimp Skewers

Here’s a shrimp recipe I made, skewer-style. It is high in protein and has healthy fat from the olive oil. I ended up with 4 skewers-full of shrimp, which you could split up into a few servings, and add some veggies or rice or serve on a salad – whatever floats your boat. 😉

Lemon Ginger Shrimp Skewers - Only 135 cal per skewer! delicious combo of garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, ginger.

adapted from allrecipes.com

Lemon Ginger Shrimp Skewers

  • Servings: 4 skewers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 9 oz shrimp (31-40/lb.), peeled and de-veined
  • 2 Tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • wooden skewers (I used four 12-in skewers)

WHAT YOU DO:

In a small bowl, whisk together the EVOO, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Reserve a small amount for basting. Pour the remaining mixture into a dish, add shrimp, and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hrs.

Soak skewers in water for 30 mins, then thread shrimp onto them. Discard marinade.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place shrimp on the baking sheet, pour reserved mixture on top, then broil for approximately 5 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked.

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Estimated Nutrition Info (for 1 skewer — recipe makes 4 skewers):

135 cal

7 g. fat

13.5 g protein

0 carbs

0 fiber

Other Shrimptastic Recipes: